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10 Hidden Blessings in Rejection, Losing and Failure

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Failure Rejection Mistakes

Rejection. Losing. Failure.

Nobody strives for them. No athlete sets out for last place, no entrepreneur’s goal is bankruptcy.

But as if an act of divine mercy, there’s positives to be found in the negatives. In fact, it’s almost gospel the extent we hear successful people preaching the value in failing.

Denis Waitley said it well:

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”

Successful people lick their wounds but never leave the battlefield, they turn their scars into strengths.

In approaching rejection, losing and failure, here are 10 hidden blessings:

 

1. You’ll Clarify Your Passions

Many of us struggle with decision making. Those with creative energy typically have their hand in multiple pies. But even a jack-of-all-trades knows there’s a limit to how thin you can spread yourself.

Often, failure and losing result from diminished passion. You realize you weren’t as passionate about that project as first thought. The pruning effect is a positive. As you clear your plate a little, the things that are left are what really gets you excited, and you direct your energy toward them.

Focused energy is when you’re most effective, failure gets rid of fluff.

 

2. You’ll Uncover New Skills

Remember when George Bush nimbly dodged that shoe destined for his head? Nobody thought he had the skill to do that. And I suspect neither did he. Until that moment.

Facing challenges and enduring a loss causes us to gather up resources and develop skills beyond our arsenal. In cases of “hysterical strength,” where ordinary people lift cars off someone trapped, it’s the negative situation that produces the surge of adrenaline and an act beyond one’s capability.

Negative experiences cause us to respond in ways beyond what we thought possible. The obstacle beckons to be overcome. In order to rise to the occasion, there needs to be an occasion.

 

3. You’ll Find Out Who Your Friends Are

Take a spill and you’ll see who emerges out of the Facebook crowd to lift you up. Sure, everyone’s busy, but we make time for the things we value and care about. “I’m too busy” can be translated, “It’s not that important.”

Relationships are crucial in life, they take a lot of work and time invested—you don’t want to be investing in bad stock. Of course friendships aren’t to be boiled down to a shallow transaction, but unfortunately, some folks see them that way— a lot of taking without any giving. It’s these relationships that need severing. There’s no honor, or sense, in helping others when you’re hurting yourself.

Hitting rock bottom uncovers the healthy relationships from the detrimental. You’ll want to keep investing in those who are nursing your wounds, and distance yourself from the silent and nowhere to be seen.

 

4. You’ll Check Your Blind Spots

It only takes one accident for a driver never to forget checking their blind spot again. A harsh way to learn, but some changes in behavior only happen with such shocks to the system.

While there are habits and skills we’ve not yet acquired, failures remind us of the ones we do possess, but simply lazy in doing. After suffering a robbery, you’ll never forget to lock the screen door again.

 

5. You’ll Burn Away Pride and Arrogance

Nobody is immune to pride and arrogance. To say you’re beyond pride and arrogance is a little… well… prideful and arrogant. Losing is the glass of water for that bitter pill of pride. But that unpleasant process gives birth to humility. Which is perhaps the most attractive and profitable virtue anyone can possess.

As the proverb goes, “Pride goeth before the fall;” rejection and loss exchanges pride for humility, and may be the savior that prevents your fall.

 

mistakes are proof that you are trying
 

6. You’ll Grow Elephant Skin

The shins of Muay Thai fighters can break baseball bats. The micro-fractures from hours upon hours of kicking heavy bags are filled with calcium, resulting in abnormal bone density. It’s just as muscle fibers grow as a result of micro-tears in the gym.

The old adage rings true—it’s the pain that brings the gain. The healing of a fracture carries a gift. 101-advice for anyone stepping out to pursue their dream is prepare for rejection, criticism and haters. And with each punch thrown your way, you’ll realize that you can’t please everyone, and the impact will start to soften. You’ll even learn to bob and weave, realizing the issue lies more with them than with you.

 

7. You’ll Never Wonder “What If?” Again

The question of “What if?” can cause hours on end staring out the window. When that curiosity is pursued only to find you’ve boarded the wrong plane, failure is the blessing that pulls you right off. You’ll no longer be kept up at night wondering about that other option.

Curiosity can cripple our consciousness and distracts from the work we should be doing. But sometimes engaging your own nagging is the only way to silence it.

Seeing his father drink beer, a teenage Tony Robbins begged his mother to let him try. Not only did she let him try, she gave him a whole six-pack, and wouldn’t let him leave until he drank every drop. Tony has never touched alcohol since. The taste of his own vomit may have something to do with that.

 

8. You’ll Finally Ask For Help

Anyone with passion and ambition is tragically plagued with superhero-syndrome, which is both helpful, and harmful; particularly when the candle is burning at both ends, and you’re drifting toward burnout.

When the word “help” disappears from our vocabulary, it’s found when we crash and burn. We realize the skill of delegation is critical for our health and progress. We need to move away from viewing help negatively as a form of weakness, to positively—that our success is growing beyond our own capacity.

 

9. You’ll Go To The Drawing Board

And you’ll engage in iteration. The process of reevaluating and refining, which produces a better end-result. As the saying goes, “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?” Some things need fixing, but reevaluation doesn’t happen if something doesn’t break.

No doubt one of the greatest human achievements: 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. The only individual in the world to accomplish that feat—64-year old Diana Nyad. She was on her fifth attempt, her first attempt back in 1978 and three other attempts from 2011 – 2012.

Her last attempt was cut short with jellyfish stings that left her face puffed and swollen. This time, she wore a full bodysuit, gloves, and a mask at night—when jellyfish rise to the surface.

She failed, went back to the drawing board, made iterations, and succeeded.

 

10. You’ll Appreciate Your Success

Value and meaning become heightened in the face of difficulty. The greatest celebrations come from the toughest battles. You’ll realize the dream isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.

When the journey includes getting back on your feet and dusting yourself off, you’ll be more inclined to stop when you see roses, and express a little more gratitude and appreciation at the finish line.

Among the 14 “Eight-Thousanders” on earth, few recognize Kangchenjunga—while Everest is a household name. There’s only 262 meters separating the two mountains, but it’s the failures and deaths on Everest that make it the most respected and celebrated climb.

The bitterness of every failure adds sweetness to every victory.

A refugee from Vietnam, raised in Australia, with a BA from Texas, Thai writes for many publications including The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Addicted2Success. A professional chef, international kickboxer, and spiritual teacher, Thai is passionate about helping people become the best version of themselves. Signup for his free weekly Infographics at TheUtopianLife.com | Connect @ThaiWins | On Facebook 

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Pingback: Anonymous

  2. Neha Mehra

    Jan 27, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Thanks Thai. Lovely post and whatever you have mentioned is absolutely right !

  3. Dan Western

    Nov 17, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Awesome post Thai! Keep up the good work!

    • Thai Nguyen

      Nov 17, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Cheers Dan, likewise, keep up the great work on your end!

  4. Rose Costas

    Nov 16, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you Thai for that great post. None of us can avoid being rejected, failing or losing but how we view losing, failing and being rejected differentiates us from each other.

    Unfortunately we were taught from an early age that failing, losing and rejections are so bad that many times it is hard for people to recover.

    We indeed need to become stronger and develop skin like that of the elephant more often so the pain and time it takes to recover is shorter and our perception and attitude more positive.

    • Thai

      Nov 16, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      You’re absolutely right Rose, we are conditioned from a young age. Hopefully this will encourage others to think differently. Wish you all the best!

  5. Gabriel Do Carmo

    Nov 16, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Awesome article. Very well written, love it

    Thanks!

    • Thai

      Nov 16, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks Gabriel! Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Junriz A.

    Nov 16, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Great post. Failure is a good teacher.

    • Thai

      Nov 16, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks Junriz. Indeed, failure is a great teacher!

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Life

How to Write a Personal Destiny Statement in 3 Steps

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We all have a God-given destiny to fulfill that we were each born with. I personally believe it is buried deep down within us. The number one secret to success is to let it emerge out of you and release it to the world. What is my destiny you may ask? It is the thing you would regret not doing before leaving Planet Earth. (more…)

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Don’t Want To Feel Like A Failure Anymore? Stop Doing These 6 Things

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

Those Who Failed Their Way To Success

Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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